Universities for seniors: Pursuing dreams from younger days
Updated 14:05, 25-Nov-2019
Lu Sirui

As the saying goes – it's never too late to be what you might have been. Across China, more and more senior citizens are enrolling at universities. While Chinese retirees typically spend time with their families after retirement, they are now investing more in themselves. 

The desire for education transcends age. As China's population ages, the country is opening more universities, particularly for its senior citizens. 

In Beijing's Chaoyang district, 73-year old Liu Lingxian has been enrolled at a local university for eight years.

Senior citizens attend different classes. /CGTN Photo

Senior citizens attend different classes. /CGTN Photo

This year, she's taking the Tai Chi class. Unlike many of her peers, who pick up Tai Chi in the park by imitating others, the former high school teacher still prefers the traditional way of learning things. 

Aside from Tai Chi, Liu has also attended computer classes, painting classes, and so on. Her hunger for knowledge stems from not having been able to enroll in college in her younger days. 

"When we were young, our cultural lives were not as rich as now, and we threw ourselves into work and raising our children. There was no time to do what you wanted to do. After retirement, without the worries of food and clothing, I wanted to accomplish some of my dreams from young," said the 73-year-old.

Many of Liu's peers share the same desire for education. 

In fact, there are 70,000 public universities geared toward seniors in China, accommodating eight million students. 

But education resources for senior citizens are far from enough. In 2018, more than 200 million Chinese were 65 or older. 

"In order to better meet the needs of the elderly, we have opened 'cloud' classes. This will let more people stay at home to learn. In addition to studying, cultural festivals have also been organized annually for the last 8 years," said Lin Hong, deputy secretary of Communist Party of China (CPC) Chaoyang District Committee.

Liu said that the university has become an important pillar of her life that reconnects her to society. She encourages more people to join her on this journey.